Sunday, September 13, 2009

Another couple of dragons slain

It's not as if there has been an absence of important events either... its just been shoddy blogging I'm afraid.

So, a brief precis of the spring/summer...

While on a ski tow back in April we received a phone call telling us that we'd just got the home of our dreams. That was pretty momentous and not without tension - the Scottish system of closing dates and sealed bids is enough to send anyone to the edge. I could tell you about the flat... but it is so splendid in every way that you'd start to dislike us and we wouldn't want that now would we?

Suffice it to say that I AM NEVER MOVING AGAIN. This is it. For good.

So the spring was taken up with preparation for that and Tom experienced many of the insecurities associated with such events. He seemed to take the move up from Nottingham last year in his stride but this spring Tom suffered a great deal with separation anxiety. School drop off became a trial for all of us but, with great help from his Steiner kindy teacher, he has made his way through it and is now quite the stoic.

The other key developments have been about Tom's physical achievements. Absence of cochlear implants in the pool - alongside the whole separation thing - have made for slow progress with swimming but Nicky has persevered. In weekly lessons, one-on-one with Edinburgh City special needs staff, Tom has developed in confidence to the extent that, by the summer break, he had just started doggy paddling.

As far as I can make out, though, Tom didn't really get it. What was the appeal of getting in a big cold bath for 30 minutes with a stranger you had difficulty communicating with? He never heard all the other children laughing and splashing around; incentives were few and far between. Luckily his desire for a blue slushy remained great enough to get him through to summer.

Then came the family vacation to France and the killer combination of hot weather and friends-with-pools. All Tom needed was a long sunny afternoon with Amelia and a pool full of inflatable toys. The transition from nervous paddler to fish-boy was complete - and greatly enhanced by daily access to another friend's pool for the rest of the holiday.

Good times.

And today another bogeyman was slain. Following the meningitis I developed a fairly lengthy mental list of shit that I feared was lying in wait for Tom. Some of the items on this list were hugely irrational - I had a recurring nightmare that he would never increase in height that hung around for a few months (I suspect a psychologist would have fun with this one; something about being locked in the worst of moments). Others, though, weren't so far fetched and based more firmly in medical possibility.

Tom's balance was pretty messed up after the illness and, while he has made enormous progress, he still can't hop and has a fairly spread gait and flat feet as he compensates for his core instability. I think he has a sense of this and is generally reluctant to test himself in the way most five year old boys might. We nudge away at this as gently as we can and today, given that we are enjoying an atypically sunny Scottish weekend, we raised the possibility of him trying his bicycle without stabilisers in the park across the road. I made all the appropriate assurances about running with him, holding the back of his seat and he deigned to give it a go.

Anyway, you can probably guess the rest. After a couple of runs like this I whispered to Tom -

'I wasn't really holding you - I was just touching the saddle'

'Really? let's do it again'

and as we trundled back to Nicky I let go.

And off he went.

Obviously, now I'm terrified about the canal on the other side of the park...

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Hello autumn

Tom has been experimenting with verse.

'Rain, rain go away. And never come back'


'Rain, rain go away. And go all the way to Australia'

or, most emphatically

'Rain, rain go away. Come back when I'm dead'

So yes, Edinburgh has been unpleasantly wet this September (and August for that matter - but that's to be expected - its the festival) and Tom is not a great fan of rain to boot. He manages to smile through it eventually...

So the summer has gone, in Scotland at least, school is back in session and it has been over four months since my last post. Tom's fifth birthday has been and gone in the mean time along with a whole raft of 'must write about that' moments that somehow didn't get beyond hasty envelope notes. I will endeavour to do better.

In the meantime, a shot of Tom and I taken on his birthday at Disneyland Paris, a little theme park we stumbled across on our way back through France during our vacation. Not the most 'Steiner' of holiday destinations but I would offer Tom's polite 'what's Disneyland?' question, uttered as we pulled in to the car park, as mitigation.